University Publications - UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes

[UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes] Nov 20, 1951

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TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1951 at 10 a,m.
Present: Mr. Harlow, Miss Jefferd, Miss Smith, Miss Lanning, Miss Mercer,
Mr. Lanning, Miss Fugler.
Annual Report
Mr. Harlow stated that he had a draft of the Annual Report which two
Division Heads had already seen and which he hoped the others would read during
the day. The Chairman of the library Committee will see it this afternoon, and
final revision will be made. It is to be ready for the meeting of the Board of
Governors on Monday next.
Book Blocks (continued from last meeting)
Miss Jefferd asked for a statement regarding the use of book blocks; after
some discussion it appeared that Miss Lanning was responsible for the use of blocks,
which are to denote changes within the stackroom only, and that Miss Jefferd's
Division will be responsible for the labels. It was agreed that Mr. Neale will
know best what moves are necessary within the stackroom, and that as little shifting
as possible be done.
Library Handbook
The compilation of a student handbook was discussed, in the hope that one
will be ready for next September. Part of the problem is the cost of printing,
but it is possible that funds available for student orientation could be obtained
for the purpose. Mr. Harlow has in mind the provision of a guide to the library
which will indicate to the students (particularly 1st year students) the type of
materials and service available at each of the public desks. The staff should give
some thought to the kind of information which the handbook should contain and the
manner of presenting it. There was agreement that a committee should be appointed
to undertake the work.
Count of the library Holdings.
The librarian would like to have a reasonably accurate figure for the number
of volumes in the Library's collections, for statistical use* The accession number
is not an accurate guide because it does not take into account discards, losses,
etc. The method of counting pamphlets, leaflets, and similar material which is not
accessioned must be dealt with. Many items are not accessioned as individual numbers;
but a bound set, such as annual reports and monographs, is accessioned as one item.
It is not the present practice to accession anything which will later be incorporated
into a vound volume and accessioned then. It is the librarian's opinion that we
should start soon with a fairly accurate count and devise some method of keeping an
accurate record thereafter. Mr. Lanning suggested that a sample count be made of a
set of shelves on one floor and then the whole floor be computed from that; an actual
count would then be made for the floor, and the results compared. If there was no
serious discrepancy, the whole library could be dealt with in this manner. There
was some discussion of the probable accuracy of the result, because certain floors
contain a large percentage of singe volumes of medium or small size and other floors
a larger percentage of bound volumes of periodicals, which take up considerably more
space. The average has been taken as 8 volumes to the foot, but if this library has
a more-than-average proportion of periodicals the computation would not hold. As -team
the book stock increases the job of making a basic count will become 2.
increasingly difficult, and the librarian feels that a figure of reasonable accuracy
is an important factor for purposes of comparison and to support certain contentions.
It was suggested that student assistants might be engaged to do a counting job.
Inventory (continued)
The method Of keeping^ track of the book stock was considered, and it appeared
that the Circulation De^l'keeps a record of missing books at the Loan Desk . An
attempt is made to trace each one. The Stackroom Attendant reads shelves whenever
there is time for it, and reads more frequently those sections which are most used.
Mr. Harlow asked whether these two checks, taken together, do not provide the
equivalent of inventory,, which accomplishes approximately the same things. It was
pointed out that mistakes in the shelf list were straightened out when an annual
inventory was taken, by reading the shelves with the shelf list. Some consideration
was given to the probable cost of taking the usual type of inventory, compared with
continuous shelf reading, and tracing of missing items, as done at present. All-out
inventory requires the use of professional staff, whereas the other method could be
carried out with non-professional people. The librarian said that he did not think
taking inventory could be justified in personnel administration as a professional
job. Several of the Division Heads pointed out that one could learn a great deal
from the work, depending on how much interest was given to it. The discussion
concluded with the librarian's request that the Division Heads consider the possibiliy
of extending the present practice of shelf reading, plus a regular check on missing
items and tracing, as a substitute for the usual type of inventory. Mr. Harlow
would prefer not to close the library for the purpose of taking inventory, believing
that the University has grown large enough to warrant that this traditional practice
be abandoned. The week during which it is proposed to take inventory is considered
the quietest of the year, so far as the library is concerned, and the demands upon
the library would not be great. A notice could be sent out advising that full
public service would not be given, and that students would not be permitted to enter
the stacks. The employment of picked people for the job and the completion of each
floor, rather than of sections, were recommended. Areas left unfinished at the end
of the week could be completed by the Circulation staff later, and it would be easier
to do this if whole blocks remained rather than tag ends of sections* Mr, Harlow
asked if the Reference Division would try to find literature on inventory—it might
be useful in the present instance.
Bibliotheque de Douai
An appeal has been received from the Bibliotheque Municipale of Douai for
material to help reestablish thebollection after its wartime destruction. It was
generally believed that the best of the library's duplicate material had been sent
to Mount St. Vincent in reply to its appeal last spring* Mr. Harlow suggested that
investiagation be made by Reference of the type of material the library at Douai
probably had before the war and that a survey of our resources be based on that*
There is a fairly steady supply of items, many of them duplicates, coming to the
Library alA-Aho time.
Means of Communication
The problem of keeping the whole library and staff in touch with what is going
on throughout the organization was brought up.    At the present time the only common
source of information are the minutes o^the weekly meeting and notices from the
Librarian's office, and they do not always appear to be sufficient.    Ordinarily, 5»
discussions at the weekly meeting of Division Heads are not shared with the staff
before the minutes are posted, and there is sometimes a gap of several days. It was
decided that any change in routine by one Division should be communicated to other
Divisions because such a ehange usually impinges on the working routines of others.
These notices could be appended to the Minutes for circulation. The usefulness of
having such information in writing was emphasized. The librarian would also like to
receive information of this sort. Division Heads will be responsible for making
notes about anything that should be communicated in this way.
The meeting adjourned at 11:45 a.m.


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